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KRVN: A Rural Voice for Nebraska

Recalling the launch of a station by ‘hard-working people feedin’ the nation, no matter what the pay’

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Someone like me — who was born in Manhattan, grew up within sight of its skyline and has always lived in urban/suburban areas in the Mid-Atlantic — can’t truly appreciate the connection that an agricultural community has to its farm radio station. But we can enjoy reading about it, and learn more about the role radio has played in our country.

Normally I might tell you about new publications; today my thoughts are about a 2002 book that just crossed my desk, sent by the director of engineering at the Nebraska Rural Radio Association, Rod Zeigler.

“KRVN: The First 50 Years of Service to Agriculture” is the story of “the Rural Voice of Nebraska.” Published by the station, the paperback by station veterans Max Brown and Eric Brown relates how some 5,000 farmers and ranchers cooperated to create a broadcast outlet, an “off-farm tool” that would serve the needs of Nebraska farmers.

The launch was prompted by events in the late 1940s including discontinuation of local grain market broadcasts; the example of a new farm station in Ohio, WRFD; and the impact of a nasty blizzard that was not well covered on Nebraska radio.

Thus a 25 kW daytime station at 1010 kHz was born. The authors give us a station history, super photos, detailed program schedules, copies of correspondence and a comprehensive staff list. There’s a good description of KRVN’s fight to move to 50 kW on 880 kHz, which finally occurred in the early 1970s, and the facility challenges involved in that project.

The broadcast family eventually grew to include KRVN(FM), KNEB(AM/FM) and KTIC(AM)/KWPN(FM), which is now KTIC(FM). Visit KRVN’s Web site and you’ll see immediately that it remains a rural voice for Nebraska.

A 1984 promo flyer.

Engineers Vern Killion and Ray Bitner show a KRVN display they rigged up at the Dawson County Historical Society. The photos here give a flavor. Fans of radio history, farm radio or KRVN itself will enjoy it. You can obtain a copy for $12.95; contact KRVN via its Web site at

The book also prints the charming words and music to “The Ballad of KRVN.”

They’re hard-working people feedin’ the nation
No matter what the pay
Livin’ their lives with their kids and their wives
Cause they love the country way
And they built themselves a radio station.

The station will turn 60 in 2011.